Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4


--Image from

"What happens when you press the reset button on a computer? ... It goes dark, and then after a while the same screen comes back again."

--A Russian analyst, on U.S.-Russian relations

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

Reflect on the essence of July 4 - Fawaz Turki, Gulf News: "The eight years under former US president George W. Bush were a disaster for America. Fewer and fewer people trusted it, even among its putative friends in Europe, and more and more questioned its foreign policy. For Arabs, it is not difficult to trace the origins of anti-Americanism. But what is ironic here is that, at the outset, Arabs had no reason to distrust the US as they had distrusted, say, Britain and France, both of which colonised them in the Middle East and North Africa. … The US got itself in trouble elsewhere as well not only because its soft power, or if you wish, its public diplomacy, had eroded considerably, but because its hard power additionally appeared to be on the wane in places as far apart as Vietnam and Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. All these setbacks should have been the proverbial 'canary in the mine', warning Americans of the deadly consequences of over-reach, or as Paul Kennedy, in his seminal work, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, has called 'imperial over-stretch'. But the US paid no heed to the self-evident truths of a changed world order. It set for itself a vast array of commitments (a 'war on terror', not just a war on Al Qaida, for example) that were larger and more complicated than its ability to meet them all at once." Image from

Pakistan's War - Solomon’s House: "Even as the Taliban find themselves caught between the American hammer and the Pakistani forge, even as Pakistan and the U.S. now share a common enemy, Pakistanis themselves do not see the U.S. as a friend link. I consider this a sure measure of the failure of America's current Public Diplomacy efforts - cooperation is quiet, rather than overt and celebrated. Even under Obama, Pakistanis still feel that the goal of the U.S. president is 'to impose American culture on the Islamic world, and 90 percent supported the notion that he wanted to weaken and divide the Muslim world'."

BBG [Broadcasting Board of Governors] members: future, present, and past - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy. On BBG, see.

US international broadcasting: three brushes with history - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Israel draws up strategy for PR offensive - Jason Koutsoukis, Sydney Morning Herald: "Eytan Gilboa of Bar-Ilan University, Israel's leading public diplomacy expert, said Israel would have to spend 10 times its current PR budget to change international perceptions. … Others reject the notion that Israel's image abroad is the issue. 'I think Israel has a policy problem, not a PR problem,' said Uri Dromi, who was director of the Government Press Office under the former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. 'The biggest problem is that Israel should not be in the West Bank in the first place - who cares what people write about us?'" Gilboa image from

Interpretation of a study: first press conference Yang Jiechi - blog.sina.com - "Turning to public diplomacy, I would like to emphasize that China's diplomacy is people's diplomacy. Its purpose is to serve the interests of our people. We have paid special attention to soliciting public views and suggestions on China's diplomacy through a variety of channels. For instance, though the Internet. We have informed the public of China's foreign policy and diplomacy on the Internet. … Personally, I believe public diplomacy is very important. It is a response to the eagerness, enthusiasm, and support of the general public to China’s diplomatic work. And our general public’s warm and support have touched my colleagues and me."

Reaching out to Burma; Assad Invites Obama to Syria – The Negotiator: "Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom blogs at HuffPo about Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s meeting today with the leaders of Burma, and the need for urgent and sustained engagement with the regime to foster societal change. Don’t play your cards so quickly Mr. Brown, the public diplomacy game in the US and elsewhere should not tie Mr. Ban’s hands in this negotiation process any more than needed. Mr. Ban is an adept behind the scenes enabler, when prodded appropriately."

Branding Sweden & Ikea – Dick, Placemarketing: "IKEA is doing more for the image of Sweden than all governmental efforts combined. That might be a sad statement coming from a governmental official tasked with enforcing 'the brand of Sweden.' But IKEA’s 285 stores in 37 countries feature the blue-and-yellow national colors, serve Swedish meatballs and sell blond-wood Swedish designs and books about Sweden. To visit IKEA is to visit Sweden. … The IKEA brand could very well be categorized by the same progressive descriptors as the public diplomacy platform of Sweden." Image from

Armenia - President Serzh Sargsyan received a group of the Armenian and Azerbaijani parliamentarians and representatives of intelligentsia - ISRIA: "Today, President Serzh Sargsyan received a group of the Armenian and Azerbaijani parliamentarians and representatives of intelligentsia, who upon receiving the endorsement of the two Presidents negotiated by the representative of the Russian Federation Mikhail Svydkoy and the Ambassadors of Armenia and Azerbaijan to Russia, initiated a one day joint visit to Stepanakert, Yerevan, and Baku. … The participants to the mission spoke with the President of Armenia about the necessity to establish contacts between the Armenian and Azerbaijani societies and ways to achieve that. The Ambassadors of Armenia and Azerbaijan to the Russian Federation noted that the objective of their civic initiative was to create opportunities for the parties to interact and establish mutual trust. According to the Ambassador of Azerbaijan in Russia, it is time to make a step forward in public diplomacy, engaging in this initiative representatives of the intellectual and cultural circles of the two countries, who can find a common ground during their contacts."

Diplomat of the Delta - Andrea Hall, Greenwood Commonwealth: "From diligent student to diplomatic employee, Lauren Jee, 21, a senior at Mississippi University for Women and a resident of Greenwood, crossed the pond for an internship of international proportions. … Jee started her three month internship on March 1. She worked in the Public Diplomacy Department at the American Consulate in Belfast, Ireland, through the U.S. State Department." Image from

RELATED ITEMS

The NYT calls Iranian interrogation tactics "torture" - Glenn Greenwald, Salon: It's not particularly unusual for a government to permit itself to do something that it prohibits others from doing. The U.S. is hardly the only country that does that. But when that country's media collectively abets that government effort by molding its language to reflect that exceptionalism, it elevates the propaganda to a much different level.

Lethal propaganda - Paul Flynn, Read my Day: Israel ran a brilliant PR campaign on their Gaza invasion. Not only were their minions pumping out plausible lines on the world media, there was micro propaganda produced on an individual basis.


Islam: The War of Propaganda Makes Huge Gains - Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs: Islam is unique in that it is the only religion with a propaganda arm. No other religion advocates for propaganda, deception and disinformation. It is a powerful weapon in their war on the enemy (non-Muslims). The media is indispensable in this aspect of Islam's war on the West (education is too, of course). Sophisticated and well packaged, Islamic objectives are served well. The assault is global and national. Image from

Anti-Americanism Plays in Russia: President Obama is to visit Russia next week, but U.S. hopes to 'reset' ties with Moscow may run into the problem that being in opposition to America is a stance that serves the Kremlin - Megan K. Stack, Los Angeles Times

Who Will Stand With Iranians? - Afshin Molavi, Washington Post: If there is one issue that politically polarized America ought to be able to rally around, it is the gallant struggle of Iranians.

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